In this post, you will find our complete guide on how to visit Pompeii by myself, a city today in ruins after being buried under the ashes of the Vesuvius volcano for hundreds of years. We have gathered here all the information that can become relevant so you can enjoy your visit. You will find how to get to travel to Pompeii by yourself, what to see in Pompeii, what to do in Pompeii, where to eat in Pompeii, how to get around the ruins of Pompeii and more!
- 1 What to see in Pompeii – Guide to visit Pompeii by myself.
- 1.1 Forum
- 1.2 Basilica
- 1.3 Temple of Apollo
- 1.4 Forum hot springs
- 1.5 Termopolium of Larario
- 1.6 House of the Tragic Poet
- 1.7 House of the Menander
- 1.8 The Brothel: Lupanar
- 1.9 Stabian hot springs
- 1.10 House of the Faun
- 1.11 Teatro Grande
- 1.12 Piccolo Theater
- 1.13 Orto dei Fuggiaschi
- 1.14 Amphitheater of Pompeii
- 2 Important information to plan your trip to Pompeii
A little history about Pompeii …
Welcome to Pompeii! Here there is only one obligatory visit and it is to know the ancient city. Pompeii was founded in the seventh century BC and buried in ash from the Vesuvius volcano in 79 AD. Pompeii was very important for the empire because of its economic and commercial value. Here used to come to the ships with merchandise that were later transferred to Europe. Life in Pompeii was good and relaxed, citizens alternated their jobs with an active life in the amphitheaters, hot springs and brothels. Sounds like paradise 2000 years ago.
What happened after the explosion of the Vesuvius volcano?
It is said that there was enough time for citizens to escape, but many did not because they were afraid of leaving their homes. A huge layer of ash covered the city and that buried Pompeii completely. However, this layer of ash also helped that today the houses, frescoes, mosaics, streets, and objects were found in unbeatable conditions, so traveling to Pompeii becomes a must on the lists of travelers in Italy. There were even the gaps in stone where the bodies of the buried citizens were; those that were cast in plaster and today we can see in some places of the city and in some museums around the world. But do not get confused, they are not mummies, only the positions in which they died, some bones and petrified teeth.
Centuries passed until Pompeii was rediscovered. It is believed that in 1709 a farmer that was digging in his land found a piece of marble and other objects that corresponded to the city of Herculaneum (very close to Pompeii and also buried). But it was not until 1738 that, by the orders of the King Charles III of Spain, the real excavations would begin and the incredibly well-preserved ruins of Pompeii would be truly discovered.
What to see in Pompeii – Guide to visit Pompeii by myself.
As we said before, one of the reasons why Pompeii is so interesting, apart from its history, is the incredible state of conservation of its architecture and art. Here we can tour the streets and buildings where citizens lived their daily lives, among which are temples, hot springs, houses decorated with frescoes, the basilica, the forum, the amphitheater and many more.
Some parts of Pompeii are still being excavated, so it is possible that you find out that some houses and streets are closed to the public. I have personally visited it twice (2010 and 2016) and both times founded different places with access denied because of the excavations at Pompeii.
You may be surprised by the names of the houses, like “the oven’s house” and “the faun’s house”. It is impossible to know who lived there, so the places have been baptized according to objects that were found inside.
Here I will list the most important places to visit in Pompeii, which I will also mark on the attached map. The order of the sites delivered will also give you the opportunity not to retrace your steps, entering through the Marine Gate and leaving through the Antitheatre Gate. However, it is best to get lost in the streets and just go into each place and house to investigate what you can find.
As in any Roman city, it was the center of public, political, social and religious life. In it were built several buildings and statues of which today we only see the remains. It is believed that many structures and sculptures were rescued by the survivors after the eruption and took away from Pompeii. Here used to be temples, a market, the Comitium (public meeting space), among others. In the Forum you will also find a warehouse where actual archeologists stored many objects found in the excavations and you will see some of the bodies cast in plaster.
It is believed that it was badly damaged by the earthquake of 62 a.C and it was not rebuilt before the eruption. Today we can imagine a large room divided into three naves, and a podium at one of the ends where it is believed the high offices are important people of Pompeii used to sit. The Pompeii Basilica must have been accessed by a wooden staircase because there are no signs of anything that would resemble an entrance staircase.
Temple of Apollo
It is located the Forum and used to be one of the most beautiful places in the city. The temple is dedicated to the God of the Sun, Apolo. Entering is not permitted to visitors.
Forum hot springs
They were not the largest hot springs in the city, but the busiest ones. In here there are two sections, as was traditional on old times: one for women and one for men. Each of them has a changing room, a cold pool and a section for warm and hot baths. The ceiling is decorated with beautiful bas-reliefs and the statues on the walls are very well preserved.
Termopolium of Larario
An ancient Roman tavern, where we found an L-shaped counter with holes where food and drink were formerly deposited to keep them warm and in good condition.
House of the Tragic Poet
A modest house, but interesting because of the murals found in its walls. Some have been transferred to the Archaeological Museum of Naples.
House of the Menander
Very famous for having belonged to Popea Sabina, Neron’s wife that he killed when she was pregnant. It is very spacious and stands out for its interior columns and rooms with frescoes and murals.
The Brothel: Lupanar
The largest of the more than 20 brothels that have been found in the city. There are a latrine and 5 rooms where you can still appreciate the stone bed and engravings with sexual scenes. Visiting today can mean long lines, it is one of the most interesting places for tourists, they love it!
Stabian hot springs
The largest hot springs in Pompeii. Just like the Forum Hot Springs, the Stabian ones also had two sections: men and women. There is also an outdoor pool and a large space that is believed to be used as a gym. The incredible part is that it had a central heating system, which ran through the walls and kept the building at high temperature; just like nowadays in many houses and buildings.
House of the Faun
The largest and most luxurious house in Pompeii, occupying 1 full block of the city. It receives its name for the sculpture of a faun found inside. Here you will find two big rooms around two main courtyards. Many mosaics and frescoes have been nicely preserved in this place.
Built in the second century BC, it had a capacity of 5,000 spectators distributed in three levels according to its social class. It is said that the stage was of two stories, but today only the base is conserved.
Better preserved than the Big Theater, but as its name says, smaller. With room for 1,000 spectators, more modest musicals and poetry recitals were shown in here. Leaving this theater you will find one of the best views of the city thanks to its high altitude compared to the rest of the buildings.
Orto dei Fuggiaschi
Here you will find the petrified corpses of 13 people that died buried in the volcano’s ashes, shocking.
Amphitheater of Pompeii
Measuring 135 x 104 meters, it is believed to be the oldest one that has survived. In his early life, it could hold up to 20,000 people who came here to enjoy gladiators fights and wild beasts shows. It is located at the end of Via dell’Abbondanza, in the southeast area of Pompeii.
Another thing that can get your attention, are the stones that cross the streets. These were used to be able to walk through the city during the rainy season from one side to another of the streets, without getting wet and not get their feet dirty because the streets, in general, were always dirty. they are something like a giant zebra crossing, very well thought out!
Important information to plan your trip to Pompeii
The best time to visit Pompeii
Like Rome, between February and June is the best time to visit Pompeii. Summer temperatures on the site can be unbearable, everything is made of stone! So, if you are going to visit Pompeii by yourself in the summer, remember to bring plenty of water and a hat to cover from the sun. If you do not mind the cold, December and January are also a good alternative to visit Pompeii.
How to get to Pompeii by yourself
In general, the visit to Pompeii is done for the day (day trips) from other cities in Italy. There are two main access gates to the archaeological site of Pompeii: the Marine Gate and the Door in the Amphitheater Square. There are different alternatives on how to get to Pompeii by yourself:
Arrive in Pompeii by train:
If you are coming from Rome to Pompeii by train (2 to 3 hours of travel time), you must first take a train from the terminus station in Rome to Naples. There you must change to the Circumvesuviana line and get off the train on the Pompei Scavi station. That will leave you just outside the Puerta Marina.
From the South, traveling from cities such as Sorrento to Pompeii by train, the same line will take you to the archaeological site.
The values of the tickets vary depending on the train and the class you take. They can go between 30 and 100 euros for the round trip from Rome.
Other local and smaller train lines can leave you at several stations near the Archaeological site. These are much slower, and the prices are similar… so we don’t recommend them.
Arrive in Pompeii by bus:
The truth is that the trains to Pompeii are very direct and the slow-speed trains are even cheaper than the buses. We do not recommend visiting Pompeii by yourself by bus.
Visit Pompeii by rental car:
If you are visiting Pompeii with a large group of people or if you are interested to visit more sites in the surroundings, renting a car is the best option. Here we tell you advantages of renting a car abroad. You should bear in mind that:
- The value of tolls on the roads can be very high.
- Calculate the amount of gas you will spend.
- Parking payment on all sites is at least 5 euros per hour.
Tour to Pompeii:
Many tours to Pompeii depart from Rome, Naples, Sorrento or practically any nearby city. If you prefer to travel comfortably and with a guide, this is your option. The truth is that visiting Pompeii by yourself is quite easy and the audio guides facilitate the understanding of the place. A tour can only be recommended for people with reduced mobility, elders or similar.
What to bring when visiting Pompeii.
As we already told you, the city is almost completely made of stone, so in summer the temperatures can be unbearable. Stay hydrated and wear comfortable shoes and a hat, as it can also be difficult to find where to hide from the sun. Many of the rooms don’t have a ceiling.
Schedules and prices to enter Pompeii.
Opening hours to Pompeii.
Pompeii is open all year round and the entrance hours to Pompeii will vary depending on the time of sunrise and sunset.
- From November 1 to March 31: Every day from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- From April 1 to October 31: Every day from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The site is closed on January 1, May 01 and December 25.
Price of the tickets in Pompeii.
Visit only Pompeii:
- Adults: € 13
- Students between 18 and 25 years old: € 6.50.
- Citizens under 18 and over 65: Free.
- Audio Guide Service: 6.5 euros each. Only rented at the Marina Gate.
Combined ticket for 5 sites: Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Stabia, and Antiquarium of Boscoreale
- Adults: € 22.
- EU students between 18 and 25 years old: € 10.
- On the first Sunday of each month, admission is free.
Useful information before your visit to Pompeii:
- The city is huge, think that 20,000 people lived here about 20 centuries ago. To visit it and enjoy it you will need a minimum of 3 or 4 hours. I recommend taking at least 5 hours to be able to visit it quietly and not running through the streets.
- The site is closed on January 1, May 01 and December 25.
- No purses, backpacks, suitcases or others whose dimensions are greater than 30x30x15 cms are allowed inside. There are free lockers in all the entrances where you can store these items in case you can not leave them in another place. However, they do not guarantee availability on busy days and high season.
Accommodation in Pompei
Most visitors arrive during the day from other cities such as Rome. However, if your goal is to spend a night in Pompeii, the new and current city is only a couple of kilometers from the archaeological site. Try to find accommodation in Pompeii away from the main entrances to get better prices, it is easy to move as buses (lines 3 and 4) leave the center of the new city several times a day to the archaeological site.
Where to eat in Pompeii
Leaving through the door of the Amphitheater you will find the Via Roma with the largest and best offer of restaurants in Pompeii. If you walk a bit to Vía Sacra you will also find cheaper options for being “far” from the main street.
Shopping in Pompei
Outside the excavations and archeological site of Pompeii, you can find several souvenir shops. However, the prices can be quite high. Truth is that in Rome or Naples you can also find the same objects at better prices.